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Hi TIJ readers, Every few months or so, we try to share a story from our pre-claim and claim archives. By choosing cases representative of the allegations coming in, we hope to help you manage your own business' risk against similar complaints. Enjoy! Stephanie With A Little Help From My Friends: A Home Inspection Insurance Pre-Claim The following is a real home inspection insurance pre-claim from our insurance claim archives. In order to protect the insured's identity, all identifiable characteristics—including names, associations, and locations—have been omitted or removed. A year after their inspection, a client began to perform renovations to their recently purchased property. Upon removing some exterior siding by the basement entrance and some insulation in the basement ceiling, the client discovered some powder post beetle damage. The client asked their home inspector to take a look at what he'd uncovered. When the inspector returned to re-inspect the property, the inspector took photos of the damage. Additionally, the inspector explained that, because of the siding and the insulation, the beetle damage was not visible during the inspection. The client resolved to ask the sellers to compensate him for the damage. Two months after the re-inspection, the client called the home inspector again. He hadn't heard back from the sellers, he explained, so he had reached out to some lawyers to ask what to do. The lawyers advised that he redirect his complaint to the home inspector. The inspectors' insurance, the lawyers said, should cover the cost to repair the damage. The Response Having heard about pre-claims assistance in a recent newsletter, the home inspector reached out to our pre-claims team for assistance. Because his client's complaint lacked a written demand for money—which is how his insurance policy defines a claim—the inspector's incident qualified for free legal help stifling the grievance. Additionally, should the complaint escalate to a claim after pre-claims assistance tried to help, the inspector would qualify for up to 50 percent off his deductible through his policy's Waiver of Deductible endorsement. (You can learn more about pre-claims assistance here.) The home inspector discussed the issue with pre-claims assistance over the phone. During the conversation, the home inspector was able to tell his side of the story and receive helpful risk management tips. "[My pre-claims agent] explained to me that, the faster you deal with these situations and get [a response] out to the client so that they understand what the limitations of the inspection are, the better chance you have of them not following up further with litigation," the home inspector told us in an interview for this article. [READ MORE]
Hey TIJ Readers! Long time since I last posted. National Home Inspection Month was a busy one for us with our funny home inspection story contest and our first-ever guest-written article. (You can read the top stories from the contest here and Randy's article here.) Since so many of our articles focus on errors and omissions issues, we decided it was time to share a story from our archives that addressed a general liability problem. What makes this one interesting, too, is that it addresses not only the power of pre-claims assistance but the power of a well-written report. You can read the full story on our website here. Or, feel free to check out that preview below. Have a great rest of your inspection week! Stephanie How one inspection report saved thousands of dollars The following is a real home inspector general liability pre-claim from our archives. The inspector has given us permission to reveal his identity and to use direct quotes from our post-pre-claim interview. Pre-claims assistance is exactly what it sounds like: It's free help responding to unhappy clients in a way that may prevent said clients from making any demands. Here at InspectorPro, we define a claim as a written demand for money, which Latham had yet to receive. However, for readers who don't insure with us yet, do keep in mind that every insurance company is unique and definitions can vary. Be sure to read a copy of your policy to be sure of how your company defines a claim. To learn more about pre-claims assistance, read this recent article. The cracked tile While performing a routine home inspection in Oregon, Aaron Latham of Sunrise Inspection, Inc. made what he described as "a very rookie mistake." He set a round, metal flashlight on top of the property's kitchen island. As round objects do, the flashlight rolled off the island. It hit the ground and put a hairline crack in one of the tiles. Realizing that he'd made a mistake, Latham documented both the existing tiles that were cracked and the one tile he cracked with his flashlight in his inspection report. Shortly after purchasing the house?for several thousand dollars less than the asking price due to inspection findings, according to the real estate agent?the agent called about the tile. Latham agreed that he did, in fact, damage one tile, and asked the agent to obtain an estimate. At the time, Latham guessed that they'd quote about $100. "Well, here's the issue," the agent said. "We can't find tile that matches the existing tile, and the seller didn't have any spare tile on hand. What we were hoping is that you would replace the entire floor." That's when Latham called our pre-claims assistance team. [READ MORE]